Vermont gets $1.47 million in federal grants to help crime victims

first_imgPatrick Leahy (D-VT) announced Tuesday that Vermont has been awarded more than $1.47 million in federal grants to help victims of crime.  The grants come from the Crime Victims Fund, the primary source of federal financial aid for crime victims, and are administered through the US Department of Justice.“The need for victim assistance and compensation has grown over the years, and the Crime Victims Fund has been a mainstay for crime victims in states like Vermont,” said Leahy.  “Programs like those supported by the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services help survivors piece their lives back together.  The vital funding Vermont has received from the Crime Victims Fund will help to ensure continued support for these efforts.”Vermont has received $1.27 million for victim assistance programs to support local efforts such as crisis intervention, emergency shelters, transportation, counseling and criminal justice system advocacy.  The state has also received $200,000 for compensation programs to reimburse victims and their families directly for expenses related to their victimization, including medical and mental health costs, and funeral burial expenses.  The funding is administered by the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services.Leahy, a former prosecutor in Vermont, has led the effort in Congress to protect the Crime Victims Fund, which the last administration sought to tap for other uses.  The Fund is supported exclusively by fines and other penalties paid by convicted federal offenders, not by taxpayer dollars.  The Fund serves roughly four million crime victims every year, including victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and drunk driving, as well as survivors of homicide victims.  Crime Victim Fund grants have become especially important for states at a time when many programs have faced funding cuts in the wake of the economic downturn.Leahy is the author of the Crime Victims Fund Preservation Act, which will help ensure that crime victims receive essential services and federal support under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).  Last October, the legislation was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Leahy chairs.  He also worked to include $100 million for crime victim assistance in the 2009 economic recovery act.More than 4,000 agencies nationwide are supported by VOCA funds each year. Source: Leahy. 9.14.2010last_img read more